WWDC starts consultant selection process for basin plans
The 1999 Legislature approved just over a million dollars for consultant
contracts to complete Basin Plans for the Bear River and the Green River
basins. The Water Development Commission (WWDC) has short listed 5 firms for
the Bear and 6 for the Green. Requests for proposals were mailed out on March
The short listed firms for the Bear River basin plan are Forsgren
Associates of Evanston, Johnson Fermelia of Rock Springs, Nelson Engineering
of Jackson, Sunrise Engineering of Afton, and Western Water Consultants of
The short listed firms for the Green River basin plan are Banner
Associates of Laramie, Johnson-Fermelia of Rock Springs, MSE-HKM of Sheridan,
Nelson Engineering of Jackson, States West Water Resources of Cheyenne, and
Western Water Consultants of Laramie.
Proposals are due on April 2nd, and will be distributed to selection
committees for review. The selection committees will consist of two Water
Development Commissioners, representatives of the planning team (staff from
WWDC, the Water Resources Data System, and the State Engineer's Office), and
a representative from the Bear River Basin Advisory Group. The Green River
Basin group has not yet been formed.
Three firms will be selected to be interviewed for each basin plan. Those
interviews will be held in Cheyenne on May 6th. Final selection will be made
by the Water Development Commission on May 7th.
WWDC staff will negotiate contracts with the successful firms, and notice
to proceed will be given July 1.
The due date for the Green River basin plan is December 30, 2000, while
the Bear River plan is due October 30, of 2000.
WWDC and SEO prepare to hire planning staff
The State Water Plan enabling legislation authorized three new staff
positions in the Water Development Office and one new position in the State
Engineer's Office. An additional contract position was funded with the Water
Resources Data System in the Department of Civil and Architectural
Engineering at the University of Wyoming.
"We expected that it might be difficult to obtain funding for new staff
positions," said Evan Green, WWDC Water Planning Project Manager.
"However we were able to take advantage of efficient technology in the
acquisition, storage and manipulation of electronic data to reduce staff
requirements," Green continued.
He added that the use of private sector consultants also enabled the
planning team to keep full-time staff requirements to a minimum.
CRBCC asked to assist with formation of Green River BAG
In 1996, the Colorado River Basin Coordinating Council (CRBCC) called on
the Governor and Wyoming Legislature to take an active role in updating the
State's Framework Water Plan. That year the Water Development Commission and
State Engineer's Office began working on the feasibility study for
implementation of the new water planning process which was just passed into
In April, basin planning public outreach activities will get underway in
the Green River Basin and the CRBCC will play an important role there.
The CRBCC was formed by the State Engineer's Office in 1992 and meets
regularly to discuss water issues which are important to the Green River and
its major sub-basins. State Engineer Jeff Fassett saw the need for
information flow between basin citizens and state officials on important
water policy issues. The coordinating council has worked very well in this
regard and was one model for the Bear River citizens group organized last
year during the feasibility study.
Public outreach is a crucial first task for planners in the Green. The
planning team will ask local citizens to nominate a Green River Basin
Advisory Group which can advise the State and private consultants who are
formulating basin plans. A Basin Advisory Group (BAG) represents the full
range of water interests in a basin and meets monthly to prioritize basin
issues and review technical planning products.
It is hoped that the current CRBCC will provide the foundation for an
Green River BAG. CRBCC leadership and experience in basin issues will be a
resource that basin citizens can look to as they choose 12-15 individuals to
represent them in the basin planning process. Insuring public interest and
geographic representation will be an important task given the fact that the
Green is a large and diverse basin.
The Colorado River Basin Coordinating Council will meet on March 30 from
10 am to 4 pm at the White Mountain Library, 2935 Sweetwater Drive, in Rock
Among other agenda items, the council will discuss how it can contribute
to the formation of a Green River BAG.
Public Outreach Key to Successful Planning
Since 1996, members of the State Water Planning Team have made great
effort to extend information and resources to individuals and public interest
organizations. The team, led by the Wyoming Water Development Commission
(WWDC), has employed a number of strategies to insure that the Wyoming public
was well informed during the water planning feasibility study.
The process began with a statewide survey of the public on water planning
issues, which helped to inform planners on Wyoming's citizen viewpoints. The
team accepted many invitations to speak to public interest groups and talk
about the goals of water planning and the recently approved state framework.
Agricultural organizations, local governmental bodies and the wide range of
water interested groups received several updates as the feasibility study
In the Bear River Basin, local citizens nominated 15 individuals to assist
the planning team and keep information flowing to various water interests.
Similar basin advisory groups will work in all planning basins statewide and
are the basis for statewide planning and public outreach.
During the last two years, many citizens have chosen to contact the
planning team in person so they could get their questions answered.
Individuals have also made wide use of the information on the water planning
web site: http://waterplan.state.wy.us/
The web site is an important vehicle for information transfer with the new
water planning process. Considerable information is already available on the
site and basin plans will be accessed through the Internet once they are
Water Planning will remain committed to full public information access.
Anyone with questions about water planning should contact the WWDC at 307-
777-7626 or check out the water planning web site.
CA implements "4.4 Plan" on Colorado River Water Use
(By : Water Education Foundation)
Southern California is facing a decrease in the water supply provided by
the Colorado River -- one of the most controversial and heavily regulated
rivers in the world. The Colorado is the only reliable water source for much
of the desert Southwest.
Allocation of the lower Colorado has been fought over for decades and
involved interstate compacts, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, a treaty with
Mexico and federal and state legislation. The lower Colorado's flow is
divided between Arizona, California, Nevada, several American Indian tribes
The six California water agencies that receive Colorado River water have
continually used about 800,000 acre-feet more than their combined annual 4.4.
million acre-feet share of Colorado River water. The water districts are the
Imperial Irrigation District (IID), Palo Verde Irrigation District, MWD,
which built the 242-mile long Colorado River Aqueduct that transports up to
1.2 million acre-feet of flow to its users, Los Angeles Department of Water
and Power, San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) and Coachella Valley
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt warned California in 1996 that it can no
longer rely on receiving more than its yearly entitlement because of growing
demand in Arizona and Nevada. In response to Babbitt's request, California
has drafted the "4.4 Plan" to reduce its consumption of the Colorado River
back to its 4.4 million acre-feet apportionment, primarily through water
conservation in the agricultural sector and water transfers to the urban
Under the proposed plan, up to 800,000 acre-feet of water would be
conserved via dry-year fallowing agreements, canal seepage recovery,
groundwater banking, conjunctive use and desalinization of drainage water, as
well as meet an American Indian water settlement within the state (16,000
acre-feet to the San Luis Rey Indian tribe located near San Diego).
An important element of the 4.4 Plan is the proposed water transfer
between IID and San Diego of up to 200,000 acre-feet annually (possibly
300,000 after the tenth year) of conserved Colorado River water. The 40 year-
agreement (with an option tore-new for 35 more years if both parties agree)
was signed by both parties in April of 1998. In August of 1998, MWD signed an
MOU with San Diego; allowing use of its aqueduct to transport water between
IID and San Diego.
At the end of the 1998 Legislative session, a bill was passed to provide
$235 million for the lining of the Coachella and All American canals. In
essence, the money will alleviate the disagreement over the wheeling rates
between MWD and San Diego. Instead what will happen is a water "swap" in
which IID will transfer water to MWD and MWD, in turn, will transfer water to
San Diego. The plan is intended to expedite the proposed transfer.
December of 1998 brought an MOU between Coachella Valley Water District
and IID to quantify their use of the Colorado River: IID with 3.1 million
acre-feet and CVWD with 468,000 acre-feet. The MOU also allocates 16,000
acre-feet of Colorado River water for the San Luis Rey Indian Tribe.
Essentially, the MOUs are agreements to agree and IID and Coachella have six
months to finalize their compromise.
Still to be completed in order for transfers to proceed is the required
state and federal environmental compliance; determining which farmers will
volunteer to fallow farmland; and deciding where the conserved water will be